I wanted to talk a little about my extended (4 day) stay at Barnhouse. It was a good adventure, but full of hard work. And there were some unexpected outcomes to the time away.
On my first night I arrived later than planned, and installed new locks. Not a lot to report. Arrive, check that all is well, and crash. We had left the trailer behind - loaded with trash - after our last stay so I figured I would start the next day by emptying the trailer, then set to work.
The next day I woke up around 07h00, made breakfast, and then was shocked that it was 09h00 and I was still sitting around. I scrambled to do anything with my time... and so I stripped wallpaper from the living room. Immediately after starting though, I questioned the choice - since I was going to overcoat the walls, the paper could stay. Instead I should look at the header on the stairs where I keep smashing my head and see what I could do about it. I took off the trim, got out my multi tool, and realized it was dull. Well then maybe I could call around to tradespeople to get quotes on other work. Called a plumber, some carpenters, reno guys, etc.
Basically I spent the whole day flitting between jobs and got nothing done. Pretty much a waste of the entire day. If I kept on like this, the whole house would be a wreck, and I would have nothing to show for it. Plus i had bought hundreds of dollars of drywall and supplies that I couldn't install until other jobs were done first.
I needed a plan.
I decided that the next day I would set my goal to at least get the wall between the kitchen and dining room painted. It was a small, achievable target. I primed and painted the wall. It looked a lot better. It took a long time because I had to brush on a lot of the paint around the shelves and window/door frame, but it turned out well. And spending was considerably less.
My Saturday goal was to move around the fixtures in the upstairs powder room. I got teh toilet off, but then realized I didn't have solder or plumbing tools. I remounted the toilet, and changed tasks. It was already 13h00 when I switched to removing the steel "beam" in the basement. That went surprisingly quickly, so I moved on into figuring out what to do with the rotten wood I uncovered beneath it. I was able to excise it, but it was hard, dirty work. Cutting the beam with a sawzall meant opening up tunnels of 100 year old beetle frass (fine sawdust that had been digested by beetles) As I cut through the beam, the dust came down in great clouds that would blind me. It was 9:00 by the time a reportable piece of the beam was out. After that extraction went quickly - by 10:30, the beam was completely removed. I put in temporary supports and went to bed.
For Sunday, I had no choice - I had to get the support wall in before I could go home, and there was work the next morning. I spent the first half of the day jacking the house and buying framing lumber, then put together a rough frame for how the wall would go with an apartment, finally tipping up the wall around 17h00. It didn't fit.
I mean it fit with the house jacked, but no matter how I placed the jack to support the wall above, I couldn't get the wall to slide in. Eventually I cut down the wall I had framed by about an inch, and used a sledge hammer along with the jack to wedge the wall into position and plumb. Lifting a house with a 5 lb sledge and a 8 ton jack is heavy work. I'm happy that the wall is in, but disappointed that I didn't get the amount of lift I wanted. By the time everything was in place, it was 11:00. I still needed to sweep up the frass all over the house, clean up all the part jobs I had done all weekend, do dishes, and pack for home.
I got out around 01h00. Very tired, but alert.
Looking forward, I need to go to the house with a work plan, and get organized (as much as possible before heading up. I can see how contractors are either successful or not depending on planning. Something as simple as not having plumbing tools threw off the whole plan for a day. And I could have bought them, but didn't want to spend on tools I already had.
All good lessons. At least the house is supported now. I can keep going forward from this point on my next visit.
I need someone to teach me how to replace the topcoat on plaster - any tips out there? Just use hotmud?